September 22, 2017

Kite Tail While Sewing to Save Time ~ Sewing Tips & Techniques


I am always looking for ways to save time while sewing for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  The faster I go, the more items I can make and the more children I can share with.  Over twenty years ago I saw a tip on a t.v. show that the host called "kite tailing."  It is like making a kite tail--you know, a string with fabric pieces tied every so often.  Basically you do not stop sewing between pieces of a project, or when doing "mass sewing," that is making several of the same

September 18, 2017

Fat Quarter Library Bag Pattern & Illustrated Tutorial

Reversible Fat Quarter Library Bag designed for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

A small Library Bag with wide handles is the perfect tote bag to include in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  It will roll up and tuck in without taking up much room and the handles will be useful in many cultures where the bags are carried on the head.  In other cultures they can be thrown over a shoulder or carried by hand.

The Fat Quarters Library Bag I designed for my shoeboxes is made from two fat quarters.  One for the outer fabric and one for the lining. The way I designed the bag it is completely reversible.  This way the child can choose their favorite side or

September 16, 2017

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 9/16/2017

My Dad & I both got a chance to double check CVS's 75% off clearance for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Dad found lots of activity books I'd missed somehow-haha!


And I found these t-shirts and dishcloths I'd missed (or maybe they had in back, and just got put out).  Also the Lakers pads and pens I'd passed on because we're Cleveland fans, and I didn't think my family would be in too them, then I got thinking they'd make great fillers for Pencil Granny and Friends.  Operation Christmas Child says they have an urgent need for school supply fillers.

I made one up for a test...I think it turned out pretty cute!!  I'm waiting to make the rest until after we pack our shoeboxes and see what all we have left.


My sister also found these like-new stuffed animals for 50 cents a piece from a local thrift store-some still had tags on!!  We include a stuffed animal in each Operation Christmas Child shoebox we pack.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $26.96 

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0

September 12, 2017

Printable 3D puzzle instructions

3d dinosaur puzzles

I bought a number of cute 3D dinosaur puzzles to pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and thought they might be more enjoyable for the kids with an idea what they were trying to make and how to make it.  So I made up some simple instructions, and thought I'd share them here in-case other bought them from H&J Closeouts when they were available from them-they're out of stock now, but there are lots of other cool shoebox items available.  Below are the instructions and completed images I made.  You should be able to print them full sized on normal printer paper.  I'll probably print them front and back (instructions one side, completed other side) in black and white.  Here they are:

September 11, 2017

September item of the Month for OCC Shoeboxes ~ Games

Samaritan's Purse has suggested items of the month for packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and for September that means games!  How fun!  Be sure to check your sending country regulations, because I think some countries due to specific recipient countries have limits on traditional playing cards, dice, and/or dominoes, but from the USA all of those are find and I've sent them.

One thing I really like about games is that they can be shared, and bring people together.  Some of my fondest memories of time with extended family is around a game or puzzle.

Operation Christmas Child shared the following story on their Facebook page in 2013
“My 11-yr-old stepson received a Christmas box. He received a lot of goodies and other presents. Among them was an UNO game. Every night, we gather for dinner and after that play UNO. What makes me happier is that my 22-yr-old daughter used to have dinner in her room, and barely shared with us. Thanks to the unknown donor, she comes out every evening, has dinner and playes with us. I pray for all of you, thank the Lord for people like you and especially bless that special person who maybe didn’t know that s/he was helping a family in Panama to get closer and pray together.” 

I try to pick simpler games, ones that are common around the world, and/or ones that contain things I think would be easy to make up one's own game for.  Often there are people at the distributions who can help the kids learn how to use them, but just in case not, I try to go simpler.

If you're worried about how to fit a puzzle in your box without taking up too much room, check out my recent post: Fitting a puzzle in an OCC Go Shoebox.

If' you'd like to craft a game, we have instructions for a few different options:

Both the tic-tac-toe DIY instructions, also have printable instructions on how to play to send with the game.



Photos Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.

September 10, 2017

Dial for a Dime Deal ~ Great For Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

It's BACK!!!!   Dial is once again offering printable coupons!  Print it as soon as you can, they've only been available a short time each month.  I've been getting on Dial Soap for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  


Save $1.50 off any TWO (2) Liquid Hand Soap Refills, Foaming Hand Soap Pumps, Bar Soap (3-Bar or larger)

I've found at my local these three packs at my local Dollar Trees you should be able to use the coupons on (you can see Dollar Tree's coupon policy here):

That works out to about a dime a bar depending on taxes in your state.  I've been able to use these coupons at two different Dollar Trees different times with little to no problem, then another time I ran into problems.  Some people have had problems at their Dollar Tree.  My suggestions are: print the coupons on normal quality, not fast draft (as I often do with coupons) to be sure they'll scan better, be ready to explain the small print of the coupon saying "off any 3 pack", and personally I always carry a printed copy of Dollar Tree's coupon policy. Of course, one should also be prepared to be polite and take no for an answer. 

I know someone who had trouble, just decided to go to their WalMart that also carries this kind.

And, if for some reason this deal isn't for you, here's some printable coupons on other bar soaps.
Save $2.00 off TWO (2) Tone Body Washes (16 oz. or larger) or Tone Bar Soaps (6 pack)
Save $3.00 off TWO (2) Body Wash or Bar Soap (6 bar or larger)


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Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.
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